“Son, I’m sending you off to school. I don’t have much to give you, but I have a good name. So don’t mess it up.” – Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jerome Bettis [Running Back – Pittsburgh Steelers]
Names are hard to live up to, especially when you have greatness attached to them. People may stray away from certain avenues out of fear that they won’t live up to their name that has been passed down, or they take on the challenge of being in the shadow to make a name for themselves to step out in. This not only applies to family, but also when you think of movie remakes that carry the same titles, you’re automatically subjected to comparisons no matter if the styles are different, or it’s in a completely different era – it’s just the inevitable. So when I saw the trailer for Creed, although there’s a completely different name that branches off from the original Rocky movies, there was still a large contingent of people who would immediately compare it to those movies because of obvious similarities. Being Black in Hollywood is a daunting task because every role you take upon, you’re looked at with so much scrutiny and the critique is just a little bit more peered into, especially when carrying such a large role that Michael B. Jordan took upon himself playing the famous Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis.
Sports movies have always meant something to me, because although many would find them to be cliché with the “I started from nothing to make something” storyline, there are many ways to convey the message of pushing through a struggle to make something out of yourself, even when things are going well in one avenue. Success for most people may come out of having a stable job, but for many others it’s being able to follow a passion to make that success for yourself. Adonis understood that, and the burden that followed. What I enjoyed about this movie was that from a generational standpoint, the differences in Adonis’ & Rocky’s come ups (which Stallone took a step back where he was used to being in the limelight) were hilarious, with even the slang, the technology and just the way how old school training with a new school talent came to be. Ryan Coogler already looks to be a face of film (from behind the lens, of course) once the older heads eventually weed their ways out of the limelight, and it’s especially important to see the success of young & talented Black men on this stage because of the lack of positive representation in Hollywood for those who aspire to do something with their lives in that lane.
Solidifying your own legacy comes with the challenges of overcoming your own ego and getting down to the basics in order to succeed. The problem that people say they have with this generation is that we’re not appreciative or disciplined. To see a man of Michael B. Jordan’s stature in a film like this, being a budding star in Cinema, speaks more about having a representative of this generation to fill a void and submit their placement into the conversations of all-time great film, but I won’t get too far ahead of myself. The addition of Tessa Thompson, who looks to have a strong career of her own (Dear White People & Selma prior) shows off a look of the Black woman in a way that doesn’t promote misogyny or label her as weak, and that too is vital to positive representation. How the relationship or Adonis & Bianca plays out in the movie may seem farfetched in reality, but there are similarities that can certainly be taken away from the film.
Coogler took a classic film series and decided to branch off to tell a tale that not only brought about new fans into getting into Rocky, but also enticing the older fans whom might have been skeptics, into accepting that this isn’t the same story. Legends fade and the light gets passed to the youth to carry, and if there indeed is to be 2 or 3 more Creed movies, do expect that its status in film lore will likely hold up well, especially in this day in age where it’s necessary to have prominent stories of hope where Black North Americans have to continue to live with the reality that they’re constantly in danger. It’s movies like these that create heroes in which people can gravitate towards. There’s a level of importance that many people wouldn’t have seen, because most would just see it as being just a great movie (which it is). As an overall lover of sports movies and film in general, I encourage you to watch this and appreciate the bridging of the generational gap that will certainly carry on the great name that was left. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review
That’s My Word & It STiXX